One could not have predicted the invention of the wheel, for a necessary part of the prediction would be to say what a wheel is, and to say such a thing would be to invent the wheel.
But I might prophesise the invention of something that will revolutionise (heh) transportation.
A few years ago it dawned upon me that there is a distinct difference between discovery and invention. In a more strict sense it is possible to distinguish between discovery, like say Christopher Columbus discovered America one day while sailing on the ocean. It is a different thing to say that he invented America. It think a good example of an invention is when Alexander Gram Bell invented the telephone. Though we cannot say that Bell did not first discover some scientific law which enabled him to construct the telephone, the invention of the telephone is not something that preexisted in itself. Rather the telephone required the intelligent coordination of those physical laws and properties into what became the telephone. These examples set the stage for the answer I want to give to the statement of the invention of the wheel. The wheel was discovered rather than invented How so?
The wheel existed in the form of the tree. When the tree fell to the ground people observed that they could roll the tree when there were no branches on the tree. The discovery of the wheel came about when people cut the tree into smaller section. Think how the Egyptians of ancient times built pyramids, they moved the large stones using cut down trees (full length trees at than). The wheel is only a section cut out of the tree. It was a discovery rather than an invention in the strict sense.
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